Adults learn constantly - on the job, in relationships, through hobbies, life events,
reading, travel, volunteer work, etc. As an adult student, you may have acquired college-level
learning outside the traditional college classroom in several areas. Portfolio Assessment
is a way to receive credit for learning that occurred outside the traditional college
classroom and outside of training that has been reviewed for credit. The Portfolio
Program provides a form of assessment, similar to testing, of what you have learned
through your life experience and enables you to demonstrate that your learning is
equivalent to a specific college course so you can challenge that course for credit.
- Portfolio assessment is a convenient, flexible way to earn credit for courses.
- Portfolio assessment is cost effective; it typically costs much less than college
- You can adapt portfolio assessment to your schedule and time constraints. Once you
have successfully completed the IDS 102: Prior Learning Portfolio Development course,
you are free to work as your schedule permits, preparing additional portfolios for
submission at any time of the year.
- Portfolio assessment provides proof of your experiential learning, sometimes called
- Research has shown that constructing a prior learning portfolio has educational benefits,
including enhancing your understanding of your own learning.
Requires Proving What You've Learned
Portfolio Assessment is not a fast or easy way to get credit without work. It will
take time to plan, write, and prepare each portfolio.
Portfolio Assessment is not a way to submit your resume or documents to be evaluated
for college credit. The portfolio process requires your active participation by writing
a narrative and compiling supporting evidence that clearly links to the course learning
Portfolio Assessment is not a way to get credit for experience alone. Experience is
what happens to you. Learning is the result of thinking about what happened, analyzing
and interpreting it, and using your interpretation to make decisions that affect how
you perceive and deal with the world around you. You must be able to show that you
have learned from your experience and it matches a college course.
Note that credit is awarded for the knowledge gained, not for the experience itself,
which is no guarantee of learning. Attending a 4-week training program doesn't ensure
that you will learn what is taught in the classes, so we can't award credit on the
basis of your attendance certificate alone. Just as students who sit in a classroom
are asked to provide evidence of their learning through papers and tests, you are
asked to provide proof that you really do have the knowledge you claim.
Being able to show evidence that you were there and that college-level material was
being presented is a step in the right direction, but such evidence must be bolstered
by demonstration of the knowledge you've gained. Preparing a portfolio provides you
with the opportunity to demonstrate that knowledge.
Portfolio Assessment Process
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Contact the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Office with questions.